From writing and casting to assembling the production team, creating a movie is an expensive business. In order to break even and earn wages, Hollywood studios and filmmakers have traditionally focused their attention on cinematic screenings of their works, where the majority of profit was generated in the past.
Although the future of cinema was already changing shape in the last decades, it was undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic that affected it for good, closing theaters and cinemas and leaving people in their homes for months.
Comfortably seated in their houses and flats, deeply immersed into the “Netflix & chill” state of mind, the audiences today are less likely to visit the cinemas for the foreseeable future. How will this affect Hollywood and can it survive such a drastic turn of events?
Dealing with halts in production
When the year 2020 just started, nobody could possibly predict what its second quarter had in store for the world. The pandemic has affected lives and businesses across the planet, bringing a lot of processes and plans to a standstill.
For a movie-making machine such as Hollywood, this meant pressing pause on most of their projects as the production has become too complicated to handle, which also left the mark on other film-related events such as festivals and award ceremonies.
In early March 2020, it was anticipated that the global box office would suffer a staggering loss of US$5 billion as a result of the pandemic. As most of the announced films’ premieres were moved to 2021, Hollywood still struggles with planning incomes and profits in the wake of the new world order.
Theatrical debuts: Profit or communal experience?
The arrival of television made an impact on the cinematic industry like no other invention could, bringing the golden age of cinema to an abrupt end. However, this didn’t mean that filmophiles and consumers looking for entertainment stopped visiting the theaters – quite the contrary.
Cinemas became places where you’d come to enjoy beloved films on screens no home theater could boast, with another added twist: people continued to visit cinemas for its social aspect, the communal experience that made the viewing so pleasurable. For many Hollywood filmmakers, this type of experience is still what drives them to make movies and, expectedly, to keep trying to plan cinematic debuts for their works.
However, love for the cinematic experience aside, the profit remains one of the crucial aspects of why films are made and distributed. According to Michael Pachter, video game, social media, digital media, and electronics analyst with Wedbush Securities, “it’s just economics”:
“If a movie costs $100 million to make, the rule of thumb is that it needs at least that much in domestic box office, plus all the other windows (international, DVD sales, VOD, premium channels, SVOD) to break even.”
In other words, distributing movies into theaters across the globe is one of the main sources of income for Hollywood. With the global box office having taken a significant hit, the question remains if the industry will be able to survive, adapt, and overcome.
Return to the theaters
As the restrictions started getting reduced and lifted in the US, groups such as AICP and SAG-AFTRA began to issue sets of guidelines and recommendations for reopening production sets. Although these rulebooks changed normal day-to-day habits of all participants working on films, this action brought a ray of hope for Hollywood.
The future of cinema is still uncertain and only time will tell what we can expect in the days to come. After all, people are still cautious when it comes to their health and they’ve come to appreciate the coziness of their homes. On the other hand, the months spent in quarantine made them keen to get out and enjoy socializing and experiencing the world from the outside.
From the perspective of write my essay contributor and a dedicated cineaste Michael Connor, Hollywood will still be able to make a comeback in the year to come: “This is the game of patience and well-thought-out moves”.
The golden era of cinema was outpaced with the golden age of TV, while the time we live in is notably marked by streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO. In the time when quality content is available at all times and requires no hassle to access it, Hollywood will need to work hard to keep their audience interested:
“That’s the reason we have the Golden Age of television, the reason we’re getting such great content on TV. Once TV becomes great, why go to the movies? Why get out of your living room, pay a babysitter, drive there, pay for your $15 ticket, pay for food, take a risk that maybe this movie will be good, maybe it won’t. With TV, the marginal cost is zero.”
Ashley Simmons is a professional journalist and one of the best essay writers UK has to offer. She’s a master of her craft who has been working in a newspaper in Salt Lake City for 4 years. Ashley is a content writing expert who enjoys writing about topics such as psychology, modern education, business and marketing innovations.